January 2017

The Epiphany of Our Lord

The name "Epiphany" is derived from a Greek word meaning "manifestation"Magi or "appearing." It is also called "The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles."  This phrase is a reference to the story of the Wise Men from the East.

A Christian observance on January 6 is found as early as the end of the second century in Egypt.  The feast combined commemorations of the visit of the Magi, led by the star of Bethlehem; the Baptism of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan; and Jesus' first recorded miracle, the changing of water into wine at the marriage of Cana of Galilee -- all thought of as manifestations of the incarnate Lord.

The Epiphany is still the primary Feast of the Incarnation in Eastern Churches, and the threefold emphasis is still prominent.  In the West, however, including the Episcopal Church, the story of the Wise Men has tended to overshadow the other two events.  Modern lectionary reform, reflected in the Book of Common Prayer, has recovered the primitive trilogy, by setting the event of the Baptism as the theme of the First Sunday after January 6th.

Our celebration of Epiphany at St. Stephen's will take place on Sunday, January 8th at 8:00 am and 10:15 a.m. with Eucharist and renewal of our Baptismal vows.

Household Blessing for Epiphany

A custom from Eastern Europe that is presently being recovered in North America is the practice of blessing homes on Epiphany.  Members of the household go from room to room expressing thanks to God for each room and asking God to bless the room and its intended use.  Some small symbol of the blessing may be carried to leave in each room: a candle, a cross, "gifts" of the Magi.

The procession ends outside the front door where the door's lintel is marked in chalk with the year and the initials C,M,B - each separated by a cross - recalling the traditional names of the Magi: Casper, Melchior and Balthasar.  The members of the household are then invited to add their own initials.  Also at this time it is appropriate to pledge volunteer time or other gifts for Bethesda House or some local homeless shelter as signs of our thankfulness to God.  The ritual ends with a celebration of the Eucharist.

Please talk to the rector (522-3906) or email at james.ross.mcd@gmail.com if you would like to have your home blessed.

From the Rector

Dear Friends,

Last month a group of interfaith clergy in Schenectady CoFr. Jamesunty began to meet to talk about how some congregations have had to deal with religious bigotry in our area. I find it exciting to hear clergy in Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Evangelical and mainline Protestant congregations talking about the sanctity that exists in all people.  Acknowledging that some congregants feel afraid because of their gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, country of origin or their political views; nevertheless we all seek concrete ways to show respect and understanding.  

Several clergy events that are slated for the next few weeks to model unity and demonstrate the partnership that exists in our community. On January 18th from 12:30-3:30 interfaith clergy will work together at the Regional Food Bank, and on February 7th the same group will meet at Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist Church to give blood, symbolizing that we are all a part of the same human race, all with blood giving us life. 

The clergy also are planning a series of educational and worship events with a Soup Sabbath and community conversation at Congregation Gates of Heaven on January 20th , and on January 25th a solidarity walk from Eastern Parkway  Methodist Church to St. Kateri Tekakwitha Roman Catholic Church and ending at Congregation Gates of Heaven for a “service of solidarity and unity” with singing, various clergy sharing words using their own faith language as well as perspectives of “what it means to be an American in 2017". All are welcome.

The clergy are also developing a pledge statement which we will offer to all citizens of Schenectady County to sign.  It is designed to encourage people to stand up for another who has had their rights hindered or has felt threatened in any way. Initially, the pledge will be available at the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition event on Sunday January 14th.

Finally, to demonstrate our unity in action a goal is to have a long range impact project in the community, perhaps developing a tutoring or some sort of literacy program in the County.

The faith communities of Schenectady County are called to demonstrate to the larger community how: to treat each other with fairness, kindness and generosity; to open our doors to others; and to stand up for the rights and dignity of all our citizens.  Together, we can make a difference during these days of political transition.

 Peace,
James+

A Message from Dennie

In a few weeks I am scheduled to have knee replacement surgery.  After Sunday, January 8, I will be absent from church for a while.  As my recovery progresses I anticipate returning to church and initially sitting with Tom in the congregation. When able I will resume my leadership ministry at St. Stephen's. I also look forward to being able to resume walking the beautiful trails in our area. As one person told me, I will be experiencing a happy "knee" year! Meanwhile I would appreciate your prayers for healing.

Grace and peace,
Dennie+

Assisting Priest

Christian Education

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

Scholars from the East: Matthew 2:1-2 The Message (MSG)

Our first Sunday back in the classroom after the Christmas break, January 8, is Epiphany Sunday. In the Holy Spirit Kids’ class we will talk about the wonder and mystery of the Scholars from the East, who led by a “star in the eastern sky” travelled many miles to worship the child born “King of the Jews.” After a brief period of instruction we will bake star-shaped cookies to share for our snack.

In the Sunday Friends classroom we will review upcoming service projects (Regional Food Bank, January 28 10:00am – 12 noon; March 4 and May 6 1-3pm; a baby-food food drive two Sundays in Lent and/or a bag lunch assembly for City Mission one Sunday in Lent). We will also imagine ourselves travelers at the time of Jesus’ birth wondering what all the fuss was about, yet curious to find out!

A huge thank you to all parents, students and adult helpers for the hard work of the Christmas productions – quite labor intensive but a lot of fun and definitely rewarding!

No instruction December 25 and January 1.

Happy New Year; many blessings,

Ms. Miranda
Education Director
393-5047 home
Mirandarand411@gmail.com
229-5105 cell (text or voice mail)

Annual Meeting

January 22nd  - Annual Parish Meeting

Our annual meeting will be held on Sunday January 22, 2017 at 11:30am in Begley Hall.  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend.  Childcare will be provided.

Nominating Committee Appointed

The vestry has appointed the class of 2017 members of the vestry Joanne Frank, Peter Nelson, and Elissa Prout, with Brian Riordon as chair.  They are securing the nominations for the positions vacant for next year. In addition, nominations will continue to be made from the floor of the Annual Meeting of the parish.  The elected offices are:

3 - three year terms for the vestry class of 2019
1 - Warden – two year term
1 - Clerk (Secretary) – One Year Term

Requirements for Vestry Membership

(1) being a baptized member of the parish church.
This can be accomplished through baptism at St. Stephen’s or through a transfer from another Episcopal Church.
(2) having been regular in attendance of Sunday Eucharists.
(3) having been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God.  This includes giving of Time, Talent, and Treasure.

Call for Reports Please submit reports by Wednesday January 15.

Home Communion

If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please call the parish office if you would like to have communion brought to you.

Adult Education

Inquirers’ Classes

This course is an introduction to the Episcopal Church in the United States.  These four classes give an overview of how Episcopalians fit into the complex of protestant and catholic churches.  The National Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Albany, the congregation of St. Stephen’s and the relationship among all three will be explored.  Frank discussions include both the wonderful things about our Church, and also some not-so-wonderful things. This course is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church, but is open to all members of the Parish Family.

Classes will be held on Sunday afternoons at noon during the month of February in the rector’s office.  Please talk to the rector (522-3906) or email at james.ross.mcd@gmail.com if you would like to attend.

Sunday Morning Adult Education:  God in America

This course will trace the sweeping and dramatic story of religious life in America examining more than 500 years of American religious history from the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the 2008 presidential election. It examines this history as it has played out in public life exploring the complex interaction between religion and democracy in the United States; the origins of the American concept of religious liberty; the dynamics of the ever-evolving American religious marketplace; and the vital role played by religious ideas and institutions in many social reform movements in the country's history.
Classes are held on Sunday Mornings from 9-10 in the Conference Room.

Discovering the Bible:  Hebrew Scriptures Overview

This course is a survey of the stories of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), while discussing some of the scholarly issues surrounding each part of the Old Testament (such as the JEDP theory). The videos take account of new research in the field of biblical studies.
These classes are presented as a survey, not a theology. So don't expect it to stand up for any particular theological perspective (you will be given the tools to do that on your own). It is a useful introductory-level course for students starting out in biblical study.

January 4 – From Abraham through Conquest of Canaan
January 11 - From David through The Exile
January 18 – From the Return from Exile through  Alexander & Hellenism
January 25 - From The Apocrypha through  Maccabees

Classes are held on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9:00 in the Conference room.  Please talk to the rector (522-3906) or email at james.ross.mcd@gmail.com if you would like to attend.

SICM News

SICM will be celebrating 50 years of outreach to people in need later this year!  Watch this space for news of special events.

We would like to start collecting new or gently used books to give to the kids we serve at Jerry Burrell during our week of Summer Lunch.  If you are interested in helping us there is a basket near the Food Pantry basket.

Theresa and Marti

Thank-you

Thank you to everyone who gave items and money to the Holiday Giving Tree. We were able to fill 29 very nice gift bags, to be distributed to the neediest children in grades 6-8. In addition to items donated, the cash made it possible to supply the nurses at Oneida Middle School and Zoller Elementary with much needed items like knit pants, underwear, and more saltine crackers. Your generosity will touch so many children this Christmas and winter season.  

Erin Cohen and Vicki Hoshko 

Spirituality

Lord,  
  There are times when I need to be an island,
Set in an infinite sea
Cut off from all that comes to me
But surrounded still by thee.
Times of quiet and peace
When traffic and turmoil cease
When I can be still and worship thee.
Lord of the land and sea,
Full tide and ebb tide
Let life rhythms flow
Ebb tide, full tide
How life's beat must go.
Lord,  
  I must be part of the mainland,
A causeway between me and others,
There are times when I can only find thee
In working with my brothers (and sisters).
Times of business and industry
Freeing ourselves from captivity.
It's when we give a helping hand
We meet you, Lord of sea and land.
Ebb tide, full tide
Let life rhythms flow
Full tide, ebb tide
How life's beat must go.

 - The Edge of Glory: Prayers in the Celtic Tradition, David Adam 

Dennie+

January, 2017

Draft calendar - subject to change - keep tuned in!

Sun Mon Tue Wed Th Fri

Sat

1
9:30 Morning Prayer
10:00 Communion
2
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
3
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
4
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
5
9:00 Morning Prayer




7:30 Choir
6
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
7
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Quilts
8
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
9
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
7:30 Vestry
10
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar


7:00 Book Club
11
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
12
9:00 Morning Prayer




7:30 Choir
13
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
14
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
15
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
16
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
10:00 Parish Council
17
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
18
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer

10:30 DOK

7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
19
9:00 Morning Prayer




7:30 Choir
20
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
21
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
22
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Annual Meeting
23
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
24
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
25
8:30 Osteo Exercise
9:00 Morning Prayer



7:30 Bells
7:30 Bible Class
26
9:00 Morning Prayer




7:30 Choir
27
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
28
9:00 Morning Prayer
9:00 Quilts
29
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00Communion
9:00 Adult Class
9:45 Choir rehearsal
10:00 Nursery Care
10:15 Communion
10:30 Holy Spirit Kids
11:30 Sunday Friends
30
8:30 Osteo Exercise 
9:00 Morning Prayer
31
9:00 Morning Prayer 
10:30 Seminar
       

Christmas Eve, 2017

creche Nave
Baptism candle
Pews Altar rail

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Church Staff
The Rev. Dr. James R. McDonald, Rector, 
Rev. Dennie Bennett, Assisting Priest,
The Rev. Patricia L. Jones, Deacon, 
Miranda Rand, Christian Education Director, 
Susan Lohnas, Organist,
Douglas Lohnas, Choir Director, 
Lisa Zebrowski, Nursery Manager,
Laura Bynon and Chris Quinn, Nursery School 
Joe and Donna White, Custodians 

The Vestry
Sr. Warden, Brian Riordon
Jr. Warden, Jim Syta
Clerk: Tracy Ormsbee
Treasurer: Denise Crates

Vestry Class of 2016
Travis Reedy
Richey Woodzell
Joe Palko

Vestry Class of 2017
Joanne Frank
Peter Nelson
Elissa Prout

Vestry  Class of 2018
Linda Emaelaf
Liz Varno
Mary Alexander

The Church Office
Our office is located at 1229 Baker Avenue. 
The telephone number is (518) 346-6241.
If we are unable to answer your call, please leave a message.
We will call you back as soon as possible. 
The Rector's email is: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com
Our website is http://www.saintstephenschenectady.org/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady
The Messenger is published September - June. 
Please submit articles to editor Chris Jones by the 25th of the Month before.

 

 

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